As the largest river in North America, the mighty Mississippi River is a major lifeline for the American maritime industry. Passing through or bordering ten states through the South and the Midwest, the Mississippi River is a common destination for nearly any vessel passing through the waterways of the United States no matter where it’s headed.
With commercial traffic ranging from tow boats to cargo barges carrying commercial goods, as well as a large number of pleasure vessels such as river ferries and sightseeing boats, the Mississippi River sees a level of traffic unrivaled by nearly any other waterway in America. The prime location and constant traffic make the Mississippi a vital part of American commerce and tourism, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the landscape of business would be much different without the Mississippi River to provide employment and transport of goods.
The sad reality of any waterway with this much traffic is that accidents can – and will – happen. Boats can collide, workers can get injured loading or unloading cargo, and accidents onboard ships can lead to a number of illnesses and injuries to workers in any industry. While these accidents are tragic and should be prevented at all costs, you do have one saving grace in the event that you’re injured while working on the Mississippi River: the Jones Act.
The Jones Act, Maritime Law, and the Mississippi River
A federal negligence statute designed to protect the rights of injured workers on American waterways, the Jones Act allows injured crew members to recover financial damages if they are injured during the course of their employment and the injury is found to be the fault of the shipowner.
Injuries abound when you’re working on the water, whether you’re on the Mississippi River or anywhere in America. Cargo can come loose, floors can become too wet to safely walk on, equipment can malfunction, and any number of other potential accidents that maritime workers face. The Jones Act is designed to let an injured maritime worker seek damages against their employer for any potential negligence that may have contributed to the injury (or even illness, in some cases) including medical expenses, cost-of-living, and even emotional trauma.
Shipowners, shipping companies, and other maritime employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for their crew – and if they fail in this obligation, the workers have a right to seek compensation and recoveries for their suffering. If you have been injured working on the Mississippi River, you need to know your rights and explore your options.
What Can I Do If I Am Injured Working On The Mississippi River?
No matter what your job, if you are injured while working on a vessel in navigation in the Mississippi River, you need the help of a tough and experienced Jones Act attorney to fight for your rights against the shipowners.
As soon as you are able, you need to contact a maritime lawyer like O’Bryan Law to assess your case and determine what can be done to restore your sense of financial security – and your personal well-being. Contacting a lawyer before signing any kind of statement or testimony will help keep the odds – and the facts – in your favor when it comes time for a decision to be made.
Whatever your injury, whatever maritime work you do, O’Bryan is the name you need to know if you’ve been injured on the Mississippi River. Contact us today for a case evaluation and get started on your fight for justice.
*Dennis M. O’Bryan is enrolled to practice before the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals which hears appeals from the federal district courts of Louisiana and Mississippi (5th), Kentucky and Tennessee (6th), Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana (7th), Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa and Minnesota (8th), respectively. He is a member of the bar of the federal district for the Eastern and Western District of Arkansas, Northern and Southern District of Illinois, Northern and Southern District of Indiana, and Northern District of Mississippi. In those federal district courts in which he is not generally enrolled to practice, he gains admission pro hac vice, on a case by case basis, by securing the sponsorship of a reputable local attorney. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, where his office is located.